Ginger Gentile: Filmmaker

Ginger Gentile´s films change how the audience views the world via entertaining storytelling. She is best known for directing “Erasing Dad” (Borrando a Papá, 2014) and “Goals for Girls: a story of women with balls” (Mujeres con Pelotas, 2014). Both features focus on gender stereotypes: “Erasing Dad” follows fathers fighting to be dads after divorce and “Goals” follows slum girls fighting to play a sport off limits to women in Argentina: soccer. “Erasing” was censored in Argentina due to its brutal exposé of family courts and the controversy spurred child custody reforms.

Currently directing and producing “Erasing Family” exposing the trauma children suffer when a loving parent is erased by the divorce courts. It is entering post-production and has an Oscar-winning team as well as over 20,000 Facebook followers.  The PSA she directed with Bravo TV star Tamra Judge “Erased Mom” got more than 300,000 views in a week and was also featured as a story-line on her TV show. For her work in reuniting families, Gentile was named an Architect of Change by Maria Shriver. Ginger crowdfunded over $300,000 allowing the film to be shot in over 12 locations in the US, Canada, Europe and Argentina. The team includes Oscar-winner Douglas Blush, Sundance Premiering editor Sean Jarrett and producer Camilla Hall. Her narrative short “The Hooker and the Transvestite” won 1st prize in the Filmaka “Hard Times” contest judged by Werner Herzog, Zak Penn and Paul Schrader.

After graduating from Columbia University, Ginger moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina where she lived for 13 years. She worked on independent films while creating more than 70 commissioned documentary shorts. Ginger is the co-founder of San Telmo Productions which produces original content and provides production services for companies such as Nat Geo, A&E, Warner Bros, Nike and Al Gore’s Climate Challenge. She splits her time between Argentina, New York and California and is seeking new projects to direct and produce. She is a member of Film Fatales, Alliance for Women Directors, Women in Film and Directores Argentinos Cinematográficos and on IMDB.

My Goal of the Day: To be calm and focused on my tasks so I will create films that help people.

My Thought of the Day: I can choose how to react, I can choose to suffer or be happy.

My Action of the Day: Bringing Erasing Family to influencers so our message of preventing childhood trauma caused by divorce will reach a wide audience.

What do you love most about Your City?

The friendly people who have been super helpful--disproving my New Yorker anti-LA bias wrong.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Skipping breakfast is the best thing you can do for your waistline.  If I have a film shoot I’ll eat yogurt and fruit.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Sleeping! I wake up at 7am and I drink yerba mate, a green-tea like drink that I got addicted to when I lived for 13 years in Argentina. I mediate for ten to twenty minutes and recently got in the habit of setting 10 minutes each morning just to worry about work so I tell myself when I slip into worrying that it isn’t my scheduled time.

10:00 AM - Usually on my first of many phone meetings during the day. I talk with my documentary subjects, crew and also outreach to my donors. Some days I spend four hours on the phone. The secret of the film industry is that you spend most of your time planning and fundraising, and less than 10% filming.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Always choose something easy to eat at a power lunch, avoid salads. It is a cafe but Intelegencia in Silver Lake is a great place to meet folks for coffee and treats. In the doc community coffee is more the mode than restaurant meals.

7:00 PM -  Working out at Barry’s Bootcamp, I need a class to push myself or I’ll never exercise on my own. Other nights I like going for walks or cooking dinner.

11:00 PM - Getting ready for bed! I have been my own boss since 2007 and learned you need to have very strict working hours. I never check email before 8am and I stop working at 6:30pm unless there is an emergency.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

I need yerba mate in the morning and a cup of coffee in the early afternoon. Some mornings I’ll have coffee with coconut oil so my body stays in fasting mode. I find I’m less hungry if I skip breakfast. When I really need a jolt Vietnamese coffee is my guilty pleasure.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

I really love listening to podcasts when I’m driving, especially Zig Zag, 99% Invisible and Hidden Brain. Insight timer has guided meditations and I always use it to mediate or to take a break in the afternoon. While my film, Erasing Family, has an instagram account and I find its a great way for influencers to find our film, I have never used instagram. Crazy huh?

What should everyone try at least once?

Living in a different country and learning a new language. Makes you realize how much of yourself is actually a cultural construct.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

I have a very good sense of directions and pride myself on not getting lost :) I love wandering around Joshua Tree National Park and New York City (but you can’t get lost when you have the Empire State Building to orient you).

How did you get into filmmaking?

Growing up, I always loved movies but thought only special people got to make them. I was lucky that I spent over a decade in Argentina where I was encouraged to take up film directing. I love giving directions and working with actors. On the documentary side, I realized I have a unique talent for being able to listen to people without judgement or absorbing their energy. People open up to me even though I’m not very empathetic. I joke that I couldn’t be empathetic doing my job--if you carry around other people’s pain you will wallow in sadness.

Any emerging industry trends?

The inclusion of diverse voices in front of and behind the camera is not only inspiring, but good for business! People really want to see people who they can relate to on screen.

What will you be working on next?

When you are finishing a film it is hard to think about a next project. I’m developing two narrative series, one about young hackers and another show about a dystopian future, both following working class folks. After the success of building an audience for Erasing Family it is clear that there is a need for content that exposes the divorce courts and give families a clear path forward. We have access to hundreds of stories as well as celebrities and some ripped-from-the-headlines tales and it would make a great documentary series. And after directing and producing, I am on the lookout to direct scripts that other people write. My ideas are so dark, I’d love to direct a comedy or period piece.